The AIG Advisor Group may finally have found a buyer after nine months of operating in limbo.

Two private equity firms, Lightyear Capital and Lovell Minnick Partners, are said to be final bidders on the three independent broker/dealers that make up the group, according to a source who’s talked to senior executives at AIG Advisor Group.

Lovell Minnick Partners sponsors and manages private equity partnerships for investors totaling $700 million, and focuses on investments in the global financial services sector. CEO Jeffrey Lovell was a co-founder of Putnam Lovell Securities. The firm recently hired W. Bradford Armstrong from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch`s Financial Institutions Group, where he was an investment banking associate.

Lightyear Capital also works with financial services companies and manages about $3 billion in capital. Several of the firm’s investment committee members have held positions at Paine Webber, including chairman and CEO Donald Marron, who was the former head of the b/d from 1980 to 2000.

The private equity firms did not return calls.

Advisors at the AIG Advisor Group say they had not heard that these private equity firms were potential buyers. But about two weeks ago, management told the 5,000 or so advisors that make up the group know that a deal is close. “They tried to let reps know that there is reason to be encouraged about developments being made. They said there may be some positive news,” says one Royal Alliance advisor.

One top Royal Alliance advisor said an announcement about a deal could be made as soon as Friday. “Apparently there is an agreement letter already drawn up. There’s just a blank as to which company will turn out to be the winner,” he says.

Lind Skolnick, the spokesperson for AIG Advisor Group says, “While we cannot comment specifically on pending negotiations, we do continue to focus on the future of Advisor Group. We remain focused on our advisors and their success and hope to make an announcement soon.”